On equilibrium in non-hydrostatic metamorphic systems
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Â© 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd Metamorphic geology has accumulated a huge body of observation on mineral assemblages that reveal strong patterns in occurrence, summarized, for example, in the idea of metamorphic facies. On the realization that such patterns needed a simple explanation, there has been considerable a posteriori success from adopting the idea that equilibrium thermodynamics can be used on mineral assemblages to make sense of the patterns in terms of, for example, the pressure and temperature of formation of mineral assemblages. In doing so, a particularly simple implicit assumption is made, that mineral assemblages operate essentially hydrostatically. Structural geologists have studied the same rocks for different ends, but, remarkably, the phenomena they are interested in depend on non-hydrostatic stress. We look at the effect of such behaviour on mineral equilibria. With adoption of some plausible assumptions about how metamorphism in the crust works, the consequence of minerals being non-hydrostatically stressed is commonly second order in equilibrium calculations.
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